The Art Institute of Florence opened in 1869 as a school of carving, was converted in 1880 to a trade school for the decorative arts, and finally became an industrial and artistic institute in 1919.
Since 1924, the Institute has been located on the premises that housed the royal stables of the palace of Palazzo Pitti, very close to the Porta Romana, in the middle of a park that borders on the Boboli Gardens.
The Royal Stables and its environs are located near the surviving walls of Florence. It has long been the center of controversy for being improperly used as an access point to the Boboli Gardens or as a parking lot for automobiles.
It is from here that Robert and Sienna seek access to the Boboli Gardens in the novel Inferno.
A project was recently approved for the improvement and redevelopment of this green space.
Today, the Institute is called the Art School of the Porta Romana (Liceo Artistico di Porta Romana) and it houses the most interesting collection of plaster models in Italy, especially models of the art of the Florentine Renaissance.
Over the years, 3000 plaster casts of important masterpieces of sculpture have been collected here dating from the fourteenth to the twentieth century.
The most important models are those related to the works of Donatello and those from the collection of the Accademy Gallery.
In 1869 a new vocational school in Florence was founded: the Preparatory School of Applied Arts and Other Carvings. In October 1878, have given rise to the Professional School of Carving and Other Arts, the same, within the Stables of Porta Romana, was in 1923 the Royal Institute of Art.
On 1 November 1924, in the presence of King Vittorio Emanuele III and Queen Elena of Savoy, the new headquarters of the Royal Institute of Art of Porta Romana were inaugurated.
The school has served as a valuable training tool for the aristocracy and artisan elite comprised of teachers, heads of schools of art, and renown artists. It has also served as a teaching model and the first stage in the development of many Italian artists of the twentieth century.
Many artists, decorators, architects and designers, including those of fashion and costumes, who studied and taught in the old School of Decorative Arts in Santa Croce, or, in later years, the State Art Institute of Porta Romana, include the designer Enrico Coveri, the director Franco Zeffirelli, as well as the costume designers Anna Anni and Gabriella Pescucci, Oscar winners in 1994 for the film The Age of Innocence.
The Institute now also contains a rich library consisting of about 15,000 volumes and training courses for design, graphics, fashion, jewelry, furniture, etc …
Pictures by Wikimedia